- Adwoa Serwaa Danso
On Monday 5th June 2017, TransGov Ghana joined over 50 people including government officials, Civil Society Organizations, technologists, journalists and many others to launch the 2nd Africa Open Data Conference. The conference will be held at the Accra Conference Center from July 17-21 this year under the theme: "Open Data for sustainable development in Africa".
The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who launched the event at NITA headquarters in Accra, said government is working to automate all government services to enable them to generate data in an open format according to international standards.
According to the Minister, the main challenges faced by the country in the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) include lack of policy and guidelines, lack of technical data to ensure the development of the demand side of Open Data in Ghana, and little visibility of the GODI.
"To correct some of these challenges, my Ministry initiated the Data for Government program under the E-Transform Project in 2014 focusing on Open Data, Data Protection and Data Analytics," she said. "It is hoped that by the end of the prooject in 2019, Ghana would have a vibrant Open Data community with lots of impact to show."
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful also re-iterated government's commitment to pass the Right to Information Law.
Deputy Minister of Communications and Chair of the advisory team of the Open Data Conference, Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei emphasized the importance of journalists in Open Data work and spoke about the need for government to engage them in order to advance Open Data in Ghana.
"It is important that we have a dialogue with those decision makers who use the data, those who feel the need to use the data and those who are skeptical about the process of openness." he said.
Acting director of National Information Technology Agency, Mr Jeffery Konadu Addo in his opening remarks also expressed hope that the conference will create awareness and increase knowledge on open data.
The conference is expected to attract over 600 delegates drawn from all over Africa and the world at large.
Background on open data
Open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. Features of open data include availability and access, reuse and redistribution and universal participation. The types of open data encompass culture, science, environment, finance, weather and statistics.